Love isn’t always logical, and such is the case with my obsession with a certain chandelier…
For a few weeks, it was this one. Super elegant. And super modern. And totally not a fit for any room in my California casual, new traditional home. Heck, my dining room set, which I adore, is practically vintage at this point.
Despite knowing there was no way I’d ever have it, I kept “visiting” my chandelier on Houzz. I positively loved the crystal droplets and the way they reflect light. I loved the sleek, modern aesthetic. I loved the streamlined ceiling plate. Like I said, I loved everything about it.
Then, a few weeks ago, I came across this beauty on the Lamps Plus website. And while my love of the “original” chandelier remains, this one might edge it out. Why? Because I can actually imagine this chandelier hanging above my dining table: The dark patina bronze and rustic, Western-inspired round metal frame bring a relaxed, less overtly modern sensibility to this particular chandelier. It’s a little bit less fancy and more accessible--exactly the look I’m going for in my relaxed and inviting interior décor.
Another thing I discovered—I really like that these crystal droplets have an irregular shape, in contrast to the perfectly round crystal balls in the first chandelier. I like the added sense of movement and the more organic energy they create. This one’s on my wish list, to be sure.
Meanwhile, my Google search goes on for the perfect chandelier, one that will meet my style and budget (we’ve all fallen in love with a piece WAY out of our price range, right?). Rather than settle for something that's almost right, it's worth the time and effort to find that piece you truly love.
Shopify Features You Should be Using
If you’ve discovered the other-worldly advantages of Shopify, you’re ahead of the game with respect to having a comprehensive, nuts-and-bolts support mechanism fueling your site’s success. If you haven’t bothered to keep tabs on its frequent add-ons, though, you aren’t using this invaluable resource to its full potential.
Established more than a decade ago, Shopify has long since founded its creds as a powerful business tool. More than 200,000 online shopping sites currently use its platform, and to date it has helped generate more than $12 billion in sales.
The strength of this dynamic platform is two-fold. Shopify caters to both prolific and small, startup e-tailers, allowing the sea’s small fish to grow into robust players as they navigate the opportunity-rich land of online commerce. But its most attractive asset is the ability to incorporate third-party vendors—theme designers and tool developers—and eliminate the need for multiple business solutions.
Beyond the basic benefits of Shopify, here are key features you may have missed—features that could significantly boost your sales volume and simplify your operations:
This back-door operation allows easy access to inventory, customers, existing and past orders. It also tracks down blog posts, collections and storefront pages through a quick run-down. Learn more in this official documentation.
Quickly analyze patterns and trends that will help you launch targeted promotions by using Customer Groups. This invaluable tool also categorizes clients and allows for e-mail campaigns to sub-groups based on geographic region, shopping habits, and spending volume. This is a feature all Shopify users need to be using. Check out its benefits here.
Zip around your site and save tons of time by learning these essential workarounds. They facilitate quick movement between key functions such as the home page, your product selection, and—especially—“hanging” orders from customers who began orders but did not complete them. Here is the list.
An organized e-tailer will prepare in advance for the launch of a new collection. That’s easier said than done when you’re battling against instant publishing. Future Publishing makes it easy to compose an entire collection, or even a mere page or blog post, and set it for publication at a future date and time. Learn more about it here.
BRAND YOUR GIFT CARDS
Why go generic when you can tailor a gift card to reflect your store? Customers of Shopify’s unlimited plan can creatively alter their gift cards with original art, a logo, or any design scheme of their choice. Find out how to personalize these invaluable tools here.
It goes without saying that security is the greatest concern for both merchants and consumers who engage in the shopping frenzy online. Breaches that result in a third-party hacking into your site can be devastating. Shopify offers extra protection against nefarious activity by offering a double layer of authentication that all but ensures only you can access your site. Discover how to activate it here.
As with all business tools, it pays to tap out the full potential of products and services you pay for. Shopify shows signs of being a standard-bearer in the world of e-commerce. If you’re on board with its vastly expanding role, and are a loyal user, don’t make the mistake of overlooking everything it has to offer.
Just like that impossible-to-shop-for uncle, shoppers sometimes feel like a mystery that can’t be solved. What do they want? How well do we know them? When retailers can determine their customer’s goals, add a little marketing savvy, and give customers what they want, sales are the natural result.
In talking to shoppers about what will motivate them to click “Check Out” this holiday season, researchers were able to narrow down what consumers are looking for in a shopping experience. Similarly, when they talked to retailers, they were able to distill what it is that most are planning to meet expectations and spark sales.
Surveys of 1000 shoppers and 100 retailers highlight a few very interesting things:
If you can address those disconnects and close those gaps, you can bring more traffic, and more sales, to your online store.
And hey, here at Cennos, we’ve got some suggestions.
Shoppers have an agenda and when you can align your promotions and campaigns to that agenda, everyone wins.
The leg work—the hard part—is already done. We’ve told you what customers like and what they want, now it’s time to devise a strategy that puts all that great information to use to bring shoppers to your online store and get them buying.
Polyvore? Yes, Please.
Capturing loyal customers can be a mixed bag. With an abundance of competition, it’s frustratingly easy to lose out on a sale before you had knowledge that you were in the running! Naturally, price point, delivery, and other residual factors play a key role. But the wise seller will strategize on viewing competing sites as secondary opportunities.
How? By taking advantage of the ability to share in the client’s overall buying choices. This is Commerce 101 in the fashion and interior design industries, where collections intersect with color palettes and variant styles.
Enter an inventive social platform called Polyvore, a novel co-op of sorts that showcases products from a variety of vendors from all over the web, combining them based on specific criteria entered by customers in search of an entire look.
Visualize a traditional shopper who’s not engaged in online shopping. A trip to the mall involves collaborating separate pieces from separate stores, creating a “set” for a room renovation, or an outfit for an occasion. Polyvore offers an invaluable opportunity to let online customers assemble sets and collections that fit their particular objectives.
Not convinced of the utility of such a site? Try this: there are more than 80 million individual products available for perusal on Polyvore. Even more impressive? Users of the site create 4 million new sets each month.
Savvy consumers have had nearly two decades to perfect their online shopping strategies. They’re educated and selective, and willing to buy across retailer platforms in order to suit their wishes. Offering up your inventory to Polyvore introduces new customers to your site, increasing the chances of a sale based on their ability to visualize a multi-piece purchase.
Polyvore is not a new entry into the ecommerce arena. Started in 2007 by pioneers with clear vision of how the Internet marketplace may continually advance, it focuses on product categories, allowing customers to input search criteria to effectively create a set of fashions and accessories that work well together. Its Home section is expansive and visually friendly, displaying substantially sized images on its main page.
Narrowing criteria to genres, eras, styles, and other considerations, it delivers accurate results that are more likely to incorporate offerings from a vast array of ecommerce entities – including your own.
By carefully selecting products that display well as images, or are more unique, your chances of appearing in a customer search increase. All other basic marketing rules apply: Create an attractive product title and generate compelling copy that whets the appetite of potential clients who will become familiar with your site.
Consider Polyvore a third-party sales tool that faces competition head-on and offers an invigorating challenge to set your site apart from the rest. You will never lose sales opportunities, but you may very well become a new household name to millions of consumers.
In this era of Commerce 2.0, you need to be more than just a source of sought-after merchandise. Unlike the limited outreach available from print media campaigns and word-of-mouth marketing, selling over the web creates virtually endless space for connecting with your customers at every stage of the transaction – and of their consumer lifestyle. In effect, you and they are partners.
Even a cursory glance at social media exchanges shows the extent to which shoppers consult each other for ideas, input, and reviews of products they are considering for purchase. While peer input is important, the opportunity to establish yourself as another element in their basic decision-making about not just a single purchase, but future purchases that reflect their style and offer consistency in their design objectives, is immeasurable.
From Do-it-Yourselfers freshening their own interiors, to professional home-stagers in constant need of top-notch looks, the basics of design is an intrinsic starting point. Colors, fabrics and styles form an initial blueprint of how they want to proceed.
Here’s where you have a golden opportunity to become a consultant even before the purchasing phase. Using online room previews and planners, you enable your customers to better visualize your products in their space. Leading furniture retailers Pottery Barn and Nebraska Furniture Mart utilize online room planner tools to make it easy for their clientele to come up with cohesive design schemes. Benjamin Moore uses an online paint previewer to show how different colors will look next to each other and in different settings. They also offer a mobile app that lets you identify corresponding paint colors from photos you take.
This isn’t an experimental strategy. Surveys bear out the theory that offering consulting options prior to product selections is more likely to attract and retain active, engaged customers.
At the same time, building more personal relationships with suppliers helps you access the newest samples in digital form for use in your site’s online library. It also enriches your knowledge base and offers a heads-up for your buying decisions that will align with your customers’ wants and needs going forward.
You’ve already committed to the current trend of competing in the vast online marketplace. Take it a step further by enticing a committed customer base – one whose trust you’ve earned, and whose repeat business is far more likely.